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A Season of Success - Fall Athletic Desserts

By Sandra Santana
The Emma Willard School community came together at Morning Reports today to celebrate the accomplishments and success of our 2022 Fall athletic season. With a number of athletes taking the field, pool, and boats, we are thankful for their overwhelming dedication to Emma athletics. Read on for our list of award winners. Go Jesters!
Crew, Head Coach Robert Tarrant and Assistant Coaches Samantha Evans, Julie Matthews, Bridget McGivern
 
Most Improved: Anna K. ’25
This athlete has always been very enthusiastic and asks for ways to improve on a daily basis.  On the erg she was powerful from the start, but when we got on the water, things got rocky.  Literally.  Not one to be discouraged, she just came every day and continued to do her absolute best.  Over time, as we continued to make lineups, we realized she was among one of our best new rowers.  This student has been the personification of the proverb, “drop by drop a river is formed”  Congratulations, Anna, on being a real force to be reckoned with on our novice team!
 
Rising Star: Izzy S. ’24
This athlete has an unencumbered joy that seems to follow her, and a fierce competitive streak.  She hates to lose, which is OK because she rarely does.  Her natural athleticism pairs perfectly with her dedication and drive.  Right from the start, we knew we could put her anywhere in the boat, and she would shine.  We were also pleased when she designated herself the unofficial boat launch retrieval captain, and took charge of yanking the launch from the water every day.  She remains both flexible and powerful.  We can not wait to see what her future in rowing holds.  Congratulations on living up to your last name, Izzy.
 
Most Valuable Rower: Bailey L-L. ’23
Being named the team’s Most Valuable Rower actually involves much more than simply on-water rowing. Certainly, the physicality of rowing requires strength, endurance, technique and years of training. Equally important is the mental side of rowing – a rower’s inherent inner drive, unyielding determination, steadfast perseverance, and the desire to strive for perfection. When the physical and mental elements of our sport mesh and reach a level of mastery and excellence, the result is an outstanding rower. But, it doesn’t end there. Rowing’s not always about “strokes per minute”, increasing levels of “pressure”, “set” or “catch timing.” Much of the success of a crew team is what takes place off the water. The mark of an outstanding rower is one who continually encourages her peers, mentors new members of the team, welcomes responsibility, exhibits discipline, and provides leadership. Our award winner posesses all these attributes. Emma Crew is proud to present the Most Valuable Rower Award for the 2022 Fall Season to not only a multi-talented Jester but a soon-to-be “Continental” – Bailey.
 
Golden Steering Wheel Award: Meli N. ’23
Let me begin with a bit of Emma Willard Crew history. Emma’s rowing program began in the mid-1980’s. From its inception, crew was offered as a spring-only sport. As many of you know, rowing in the spring brings with it its own challenges - seasonal flooding, a debris ridden river, unfavorable winds, and cold temperatures. These factors combined with a very short competitive season always left the team wanting for more. After some coaxing (read “nagging”) the athletic department agreed to add a fall season in 2014. As we’re all coming off the fall season you know we have much better conditions, a longer competitive season, and an excellent time to introduce future rowers to the sport. One of the most prestigious races of the fall season is the Head of the Charles Regatta, held the third weekend in October in Boston. This regatta is the largest in the world and provides competitors and spectators alike a spectacle of rowing. Emma Crew has been fortunate to be selected to compete in “the Charles” many times since our fall season was introduced. The racecourse is extremely demanding – 3 miles in length, passing through seven bridges and six difficult turns. This certainly tests the mettle and fitness of a crew. However, the member of the crew who is equally, if not more important than those rowing, is the coxswain. Navigating the difficult course through a crowded field of crews is no small task. As an example, Emma entered a Women’s Youth Coxed Four in this year’s regatta. We were one of 90! Entries in our division. Our bow number was 55 – right in the thick of things. This is a daunting task for even the most seasoned coxswains. I feel strongly that each year our Head of the Charles coxswain be recognized for their skill and seamanship (seawomanship) leading the Emma Crew masterfully up the Charles River. Therefore, Emma Crew is excited to present our first Annual “Golden Steering Wheel Award” to Meli!
 
Cross Country, Head Coaches Megan Labbate and Kathy Mroczka
 
Coaches Award: Maela N. ’26
This person came to practice every day with a smile on her face and a willingness to complete the workout no matter how hard it is. She was always positive and encouraged others. At a race where she could not run, she cheered the team on and took photos of people as they raced. This person also steadily improved throughout the season and consistently surprised herself with her times and how fast she could run. She had a breakout meet at the Burnt Hills Invitational and continued to improve throughout the season, running in a scoring position at League Championships. We are so glad that this athlete joined cross-country this year and are excited to award Maela a Coaches Award.
 
Coaches Award: Madie M. ’23
A leader does not need to be loud. Nor do they need to win races. A leader needs to be present, empathize with teammates and know when to push vs. when to give a break, have a sense of humor and willingness to have fun, and most importantly, model what it means to be tough and persevere, even in the most challenging times. Madie - you had all those qualities coming into the season. That’s why we chose you to be a captain. But, little did we know all the important ways you would elevate team spirit and make this season fun and inspiring for everyone. For your outstanding dedication to cross country and the team, we award you this coaches award.
 
Swimming and Diving, Head Coach Katherine O'Donnell and Assistant Coach Eric Martell
 
Courage Award: Lily T. ’23
The swim and dive team awards our 2022 Courage Award to Lily for her bravery in trying something entirely new and different in her senior year. Diving is one of the most challenging elements of our sport, both physically and emotionally. Lily took it on without hesitation and with such positivity. Lily undertook this effort with such Grace and courage, and her teammates and her coaches could not be more proud. 
 
Most Improved: Elsa M. ’26
This year's most improved award for this season goes to Elsa. Elsa displayed a drastic improvement in her swimming technique this season, as evidenced by her big time improvements and qualification for sectionals in 2 events! Elsa developed a passion and drive for improvement and truly dedicated herself to becoming a better swimmer this season. The coaching staff can’t wait to see where she picks up next year!
 
Tennis, Head Coach Anna Despart and Assistant Coach Judith Price
 
Most Valuable Player: Nisha J. ’26
This year's MVP goes to a player who demonstrates a high level of play. She is a very fluid player on the court, often pushing her opponents to their limit as she takes advantage of her court space. Aside from her skill, her grit and attitude to win is what separates her from other players. She thrives off pressure, which is a skill we cannot teach.  As a freshman, she led the team in the first singles spot all season. In the postseason, she received the #9 seed for individual sectionals, single competition. We look forward to watching her continued growth! This year's MVP goes to Nisha.
 
Coaches Award: Olivia L. ’24
This year's coaches award goes to an all around outstanding player. She competed in singles for the regular season. We consider her an “under the radar” player, as she’s not the most flashy, but she gets the job done. She has consistent strokes, as well as the will to win! She is able to take the coaches' adjustments during matches and instantly apply them to her game. She is an extremely coachable player, often looking for ways to improve her game. Aside from being a technically skilled player, she is a positive role model for her teammates. She has been committed to EW tennis for 2 years, and we look forward to seeing her lead next year. This year's coaches award goes to Olivia. 
 
JV Field Hockey, Head Coach Gina Egan and Assistant Coach Elizabeth Spoehel
 
Most Valuable Player: Maci C. ’25
This player could be described as our middle manager. They know how to convey information from above and also how to work with the team as an equal. They let us know where to be and when, they show the tricky techniques for good passes, teach us cool new games and model good field talk with their constant “you got me flaaaaaaaat!”  Honestly, without them, we would be a bunch of grapes! Our most valuable player this year goes to… Maci. 
 
Most improved: Claire M. ’25
This player worked hard and played hard. They charged our opponents without fear, ran campus miles without complaint, and showed tremendous improvement in their skills since starting last year. When they were out sick, the team felt their absence acutely. Plus, I’m not sure if there was any game where we gave them a sub! Our most improved player this year is… Claire.
 
Varsity Field Hockey, Head Coach Elizabeth Parry and Assistant Coach Samantha Skott
 
Most Improved Player/Coaches Award: Dena S. ’25
Our Coaches’ Award goes to a player who showed a tremendous amount of growth over the season and is our most improved player. She came to us with a bit of experience, but hadn’t ever played at the varsity level before. At first, we weren’t quite sure which position to put her in, but her toughness earned her a spot on our defense. In our first few games, she continually turned towards the middle of the field to bring the ball across our goal, and backed away from attackers. We moved her from the left side of the field to the right, and it changed her game. By the end of the season, we were confident that she would stop any attacker she stepped up to! She was aggressive and forced the other team to make mistakes, and never waited for them to come to her. She utilized self starts well and got the ball quickly out of our defensive end in many tight situations. For honing all of these skills over the course of the season, we are proud to give the Coaches’ Award to Dena!
 
Most Valuable Player (MVP): Ceci C. ’24
The MVP for this season goes to a player who is the most valuable in every sense of the word. Not only is she our statistical offensive leader in goals scored this year, but also plays an important role on defense as our flyer on corners. She controls the game with instinctive game sense, ability to change the field, smooth dodges, and ability to create passes to her teammates. This player leads by example and is also valuable in the sense that she is willing to go the extra mile to teach other players the game. She is not just a talented field hockey player, earning a spot on the Wasaren League First Team All-Stars, but a committed teammate who cares about creating a positive environment for everyone. Without her, we would have been truly lost this season! For these reasons and many more, we award our MVP to Ceci!
 
JV Soccer, Head Coach Heidi Spohn and Assistant Coach Katharine Holt 
 
Coaches’ Award: Simi A-H. ’26
Lightning quick, this player seemed to be everywhere on the field at once. A critical anchor of the team, whether playing at center mid or center back, she always hustled to support her teammates. She would chase down a dangerous player from the opposing team as the last line of defense with the same effort as she would run into the box to support our offense, seemingly never growing tired. She was one of our top scorers in games, as well as one of our most focused players in practice. For her incredible work ethic, stamina, and speed, we are pleased to give a coaches’ award to Simi.    
 
Coaches’ Award: Xime G-C. ’26
Our second coaches’ award goes to our lead scorer, but we don’t want to just honor her goals. This player hustled at every practice, making the most of each warm up, drill, or scrimmage that we asked her to complete. She also brought a sense of fun wherever she went. Her laugh and spirit were infectious, whether she was playing center mid, boosting the offense, or supporting a teammate. For working hard all season, showing us how fun soccer can be, and being an excellent teammate, we are delighted to give a coaches’ award to Xime. 

Varsity Soccer, Head Coach Drew Levy and Assistant Coach John Ball
 
Most Valuable Player: Margarette H. ’24
Margarette averaged more than twenty saves a game this season. Her work in front of the net helped a hardworking, but more often than not remarkably overtaxed defense, play as an impressive unit throughout the season. She made outstanding saves so regularly that her excellence as a goalkeeper came to seem routine. In fact, her play was anything but routine. And to honor her remarkable play, as well as all that it meant to our team this past season, we are honored to award Margarette Howland the 2022 Varsity soccer Most Valuable Player Award. 
 
Coaches Award: Noura C. ’23
From the first days of pre-season, Noura stepped up to lead our team. She did so quietly through her own example. And she did so loudly, as a cheerleader, critic, and coach. For her dedication to the team, for the many ways in which she led and inspired those around her, for her fierce play on the field; for all of these things and more, we are honored to award Boura Coulibaly the 2023 Varsity soccer Coaches Award.

JV Volleyball, Head Coach Mary Hunter and Assistant Coach Sydney Doornbos
 
Rookie of the Year: Clara L. ’26
This player has made their debut this year at Emma and quickly became the go-to person on the court. First, they stood out for their strong receives, then they quickly became a strong hitter that landed many points. Finally, this person had one of the most reliable serves on the court. If in need, this person ran, slid, and dove on the court to get that ball. Though this athlete was new to Emma’s volleyball team, this player quickly became one of the most reliable people on the court. For their coachability, positive attitude, reliability, and relentless effort, the Rookie of the Year award goes to Clara. 
 
Coaches Award: Olana S. ’24
This player is a junior who stood out for her quiet leadership. This student-led by example: They came to practice regularly and on time, had a great attitude, helped their peers, quickly got engaged with the exercises on hand, helped new players navigate the game, helped team members to learn awareness on the court, and added to a positive team spirit. This person made immense personal progress. They have become a dependable person to get that first ball making sure the receive goes to the setter, they have gotten greater awareness on the net, and they have aced an incredible amount of serves. For running after the ball, for serving under pressure when stakes were high, and for always reliably putting that third ball over the net, the Coaches Award goes to Olana. 
 
JV Volleyball, Head Coach Mary Hunter and Assistant Coach Sydney Doornbos
 
Most Improved Player: Nadia M. '25
Our first award goes to a player who has a curious nature and as a consequence learns quickly. She is infamous for the amount of follow-up questions she has ready to go on just about any topic. She loves to lightly interrogate coaches and players. This athlete always came in with a fun attitude, ready to play and improve during each practice and each game. Those characteristics are key to a great athlete, but then there's all the natural talent that comes with this athlete. Those crazy long arms that make strong blocks on even the toughest hit. And, of course, the scariest thing about her -- her left arm. Any time she'd serve left handed, she left the other team immobilized. From JV last year to a varsity starter this year, we honor Nadia with an award for the Most Improved Player.
 
Spirit Award: Gabby C. '24
This athlete is, without a doubt, the most positive athlete I have ever coached. She is always willing to try again, improve her skills before and after practice, and never gives up when she's frustrated. Although to be honest, we've never seen her overly frustrated. She has a magic ability to make people laugh, keep people energized, and also a secret ability to call an ace from the bench. One whisper from her and BOOM -- an automatic point. Some people earn glory on the court, others in practice, and others by a killer ability to stay positive, determined, and be the most spirited on and off the court. This is why we are so happy to present Gabby with the Spirit Award for the 2022 Varsity Volleyball season! 
 
Congratulations to all of our athletes on an incredible fall season. In addition, Emma Willard School would like to extend a very special thank you to everyone who worked behind the scenes to support our athletes this season. 
 
Join us in wishing our Winter athletes a safe and successful season as the Winter sports season kicks off next week. Go Jesters!
    • Tennis

    • Crew

    • Cross Country

    • JV Field Hockey

    • Varsity Field Hockey

    • JV Soccer

    • Varsity Soccer

    • JV Volleyball

    • Varsity Volleyball

    • Swimming and Diving - Sectional Runner Up


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